When Kenny Allen kicked a field goal in the second quarter of the University of Michigan's game at Utah Thursday, he scored the not only the first points of the Jim Harbaugh coaching era of Michigan football, but he also scored a Big Ten first.

The field goal by Michigan kicker Allen was, surprisingly, the first field goal made by an African-American kicker in Big Ten history.

It seems strange that a conference that led the way in offering African American scholarships as early as the mid-1950s had never had a black field goal kicker, but as far as anyone can tell, that was the case up until last night.

That was the only interesting moment in what turned out to be a lackluster performance by the Wolverine team. The offense showed signs of life, but once again was crippled by turnovers, in particular three interceptions thrown by graduate transfer quarterback Jake Rudock. Allen missed a second field goal attempt later on, and the defense once again was forced to try and keep the team in the game.

But one noticeable difference was the way the team fought through their problems and found a way to stay in the game until late in the fourth quarter. Last year, Michigan seemed to collapse when things didn't go their way, but not last night. They played with a discipline and a spirit lacking the past two seasons.

So the Harbaugh era started with a whimper, but there were enough good signs to be excited about the future of Michigan football.